Ice-T To Showcase New Songs On Tour

Gangsta rapper will play dates in 19 U.S. cities, with plans to preview new material onstage.

West Coast gangsta-rap pioneer Ice-T has announced dates for a 19-city U.S. tour, during which he will have his first chance to gauge crowd reaction to songs from his forthcoming album, The Seventh Deadly Sin.

"He just really loves his fans and really loves to make money," George Hinojosa, Ice-T's manager, said on Monday (Aug. 10) of the rapper's decision to tour without an album of fresh material in stores and The Seventh Deadly Sin not due until the first quarter of 1999. "He's working on the new album and wants to get out there and road-test some of the new material."

Ice-T's last album, VI: Return of the Real, was released in 1996. For many artists, taking to the road without new material in the stores is a great way to select which singles they will release. Fellow gangsta rapper Xzibit, for example, recently said that his tour earlier this summer as an opener for Big Punisher made him change his mind about the second song to release from his forthcoming album, 40 Days & 40 Nights.

"People just weren't reacting the way I thought they would," Xzibit explained. "The reaction wasn't right, so we decided to hold on to that single for a while."

Ice-T (born Tracy Marrow) first made his mark in the rap world in the mid-'80s when he helped to father gangsta rap by tailoring his songs around crime stories and life in the street gangs of Los Angeles. He continually built up his popularity with a series of albums which helped to define gangsta rap, including 1987's Rhyme Pays, 1988's Power and 1991's O.G. Original Gangster, which included the track "Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous" (RealAudio excerpt).

By the late '80s, Ice-T was leading a wave of hip-hop stars onto the silver screen, appearing in such films as "New Jack City," "Trespass," "Tank Girl" and "Johnny Mnemonic."

He also earned some time in the spotlight when police organizations objected to the song "Cop Killer" on the self-titled 1992 debut from his thrash-metal band, Body Count. Ice-T's last album, VI: Return of the Real, was released in 1996, but failed to yield a major hit. Since then, he's concentrated his energies on a number of direct-to-video film roles, his now-canceled NBC series "Players" and a few spoken-word engagements.

According to Hinojosa, the tour, which will head from West Hollywood, Calif., to Washington, D.C., will consist entirely of songs from Ice-T's rap catalog, cut, scratched and mixed by longtime DJ Evil E. The Seventh Deadly Sin, Ice-T's seventh full-length album, is due for release in the first quarter of next year.

Ice-T Tour Dates:

Aug. 21; West Hollywood, Calif., Key Club

Aug. 23; Seattle, Wash., Fenix

Aug. 25; Portland, Ore., Roseland Theater

Aug. 27; Boulder, Colo., Fox Theatre

Aug. 28; Fort Collins, Colo., Aggie Theatre

Aug. 29; Vail, Colo., Garton's

Aug. 30; Lawrence, Kan., Granada Theatre

Sept. 2; Minneapolis, Minn., First Avenue

Sept. 3; Chicago, Ill., House Of Blues

Sept. 4; Columbia, Mo., Blue Note

Sept. 5; Springfield, Mo., Juke Joint

Sept. 6; Fayetteville, Ark., JR's Dickson Street Ballroom

Sept. 7; New Orleans, La., House Of Blues

Sept. 9; Houston, Texas, Abyss

Sept. 11; San Antonio, Texas, White Rabbit

Sept. 12; Austin, Texas, Waller Creek Amphitheatre

Sept. 18; Lake Buena Vista, Fla., House Of Blues

Sept. 20; Atlanta, Ga., Tabernacle

Sept. 21; Washington, D.C., 9:30 Club